With the rising perception of computer science as a universally useful skill in the twenty-first century, researchers and schools test ways to effectively interest and introduce young children to computer science. Our project used a procedural board game as an expansive framework for pairing an “unplugged” reference to a “plugged” component, or a virtual environment, which was MIT’s Scratch.
We implemented and adapted the curriculum to Title I schools in Cache Valley. Overall there were two iterations, at two different schools, with three different instructors and classes. Each class was two part: first the course was divided between classroom instructional time, and second, the students participated with hands-on coding in the library. Teachers emphasized similarities between the analogy game and the scratch instantiation.
Key findings from the research included:
- Elementary teachers without CS background effectively implemented our T2S curriculum
- All students, regardless of gender, retained interest through our approach
- The T2S curriculum effectively taught computer science principles through the board game and Scratch
US National Science FoundationGrant No. DRL-1837224